Lovin' time at Coon Hollow Farm

Lovin' time at Coon Hollow Farm
Our Olde English "Babydoll" Sheep and their lambs

Friday, February 5, 2016

Excuse my absence...but...

I have a baby shower to plan!!! I have been a bit busy getting ready for our new grand child to arrive. Today was a snow day so I got busy beginning the process of making the shower favors. I began making soap with some lye water...

and some measured olive and coconut oils as well as vegetable shortening...

got my temperatures right and combined the two, stired and stired and stired creating Saponification.

added up some lavender and lavender oil...

and there we are! Lavender soap which is baby's mama Sarah's favorite as well as mine! Stay tuned, I am piecing together a beautiful gift for the baby and will get back to farm news soon!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Snow Day!!!

Yesterday was a snow day! It just snowed and snowed all day, making it a laid back and lazy day. No where to go and not much to do except getting out to tend the animals. Autumn always accompanies me to put the alpacas and goats away for the evening.
They were fine with the storm, after all it's their weather! Everyone was beded down with a thick layer of straw as we enjoyed our snow day by raiding the refrigerator, kicking back on the couch and enjoying the day as the snow fell!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Staple length is everything!

This weekend I was grooming my Angora rabbits and as I was plucking some of the under coat from "Tawny", it was coming out at over 6 inches! She is one of my best wool producers! Even at over tow years old, producing a litter, she still grows out the most amazing and thick coat. This will spin up nicely into some gorgeous yarns!

Friday, January 8, 2016

Winter bee feeding with new theories!

The unusually warm winter here in Connecticut has enabled me to procrastinate in feeding the honeybees. Winter is beginning to set in so today I got to it! I pulled out the candy boards and got to work...
I scooped out just enough for 15 pounds of sugar to make three candy boards.

Then added 48 ounces of water to the big pot and brought it to a boil.

This year I tacked this flexible card board material to the board to allow the "candy" to cling to it.

Once the sugar and water came to the sugar stage after much beating, I poured it into the boards and took them outside to quickly cool.

My friend Kisha and I have talked a lot about how to better winterize the bees and reduced moisture in the hive. We saw a man selling a system and he used pine shavings to help collect the moisture.

We are both going about our theories in different ways. Mine is keeping my feeders on top of the hive, filling the feeders with shavings...

then inverting the candy board on top of that. My theory hopes the bees go up between the feeder, eat the "candy" and stay free of moisture. I allowed a couple of venting spaces and am hoping for the best. As I was installing this I discovered that my weaker hive had already died so fingers crossed for the two plus Kisha's hive that we hope to bring through winter!

So, tops are on, secured with heavy rocks, vented and fingers crossed until Spring, rest well girls!

Monday, January 4, 2016

A warmer than usual winter, but the herbs love it!

I went out to feed the chickens this morning and we finally have a frozen ground. It has been unusually warm here in southern New England. Tonight we are finally getting single digit temperatures so it was time to bring the Bay trees in from the greenhouse. They have thrived and done well out there but we have had them for a long time and I don't want to risk loosing them. It is also time to harvest the rest of the hardy herbs like the rosemary and sage that are doing well but after tonight not so much!

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Fare thee well 2015

2015 was a good year. It started off with some goals that I wanted to reach. One was learning hearth cooking. It's fun and challenging all at the same time. The ladies I work with at the Colonial House like to get together so we can hone our skills and feast too! Above is something called Apple Charolette, an old dish named after King George of the 18th centuries lovely wife.

Another goal was to learn, the Paddle and Tape loom, of for which I quickly realized I did not like at all! All that erect sitting was not for me!

The year brought us one of the snowiest winters we had ever seen.

The ladies of the Humphreys House always make my day fun. There is nothing better than working in an environment that is nurturing and fun. I just love everyone I work with there and to spend the day as a Colonial Woman is just the best!

We had our first litter of English Angora bunnies born on the farm! Tawny was an amazing mother and we kept two of them!

Different textiles and techniques were explored

But one of the most amazing things of the year was finding out we are going to be grandparents for the first time!!!

Here it is! Our little marshmallow who is expected in mid March of 2016! We are so excited, we talk all the time about what the child will be like and how much we are looking to be a part of the life of our Grandchild.

Which led us to the decision to sell our Olde English Babydoll sheep. We decided it was time to let them go and were quite pleased with the buyer who took them. She will continue our legacy with our herd. I miss them terribly and often think about them, they took a piece of my heart with them.

We had the best year yet with our bees. With the bad winter we had to replace every hive but bought strong healthy bees that brought in an amazing harvest!

My fiber interest have changed and have fallen in love with mohair! We had the chance to home these two Angora goats so Maddy and Pru came to live on Coon Hollow Farm! We bred Maddy so hopefully we will be expecting some mohair kids in the Spring!

A wonderful opportunity I got this year was to head up an after school program at my Nature Center! I get to share my passion with Nature and hang out with awesome kids who enjoy exploring and having fun!

I was gifted this awesome loom which will be next on my journey!

Autumn still is on guard and we are hoping next year to add another guardian dog so she can take a break and not work as hard!

So as we bid adu to 2015, we look forward to 2016 and wish everyone a wonderful New Year!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Boot Toppers, Two Toned

One of the biggest requested items I had this year is Boot Toppers or Boot cuffs. It became the knitted Holiday gift to give in my Fiber Arts group.  You can make them in two colors so you have a choice to mix and match according to what you wear.

The ribbing on each end allows them to be flexible and fit well.

I knitted one end and then switched to another color...

and there you go! Easy peasy boot toppers in two colors so you can mix and match! I made my niece a pair so she could be my test subject! She liked them and they fit well too!

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Slackers are amoung us!

We haven't had an egg in over a week now! This time of year this happens with darker days, longer darkness but we have 40 hens! Not one egg! Is it you old girl?

or you pretty girl?

How about you big Bertha?

Not even an egg from our  pretty Speckled Sussex! My apologies for being absent from my blog, Work has been plentiful, getting some things done and making some changes. I am back on line and will be bringing some new things I am doing!

Monday, October 5, 2015

The evolution of a concept

A few years back I was making scarves using locks. I was knitting the scarves and pulling the locks through which worked but I wasn't pleased with it. I dyed some mohair locks and decided to knit them in. I did this at our Fiber Arts Group one night and then entered the first one into a Country Fair and got a red ribbon for it!

My second attempt was a thicker collar and thicker locks which came out nice.

My third attempt was an even thicker collar, adding locks at two sticthes instead of three and a variation of color.

I was having some concern about blocking them and mentioned it to my friend Jody who suggested this great idea! I rinsed them in some soapy water and tacked them to my felting board! This project was fun and can't wait to see someone wearing them!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Happy October everyone!

It's officially Fall! With the coming of October, my favorite month of the year, it is officially fall!!! Pumpkin and Apple Pie, apple cider, the beautiful colors of the leaves, the cooler temps, hoodies, jeans, boots, snuggling under the covers, fairs, pumpkin picking, hay rides, wood stoves, halloween parties, hiking, bonfires, my children's birthdays, and so on with the Autumn fun!!! Happy October everyone!!!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Molting is not just for chickens!

Some of our baby angora rabbits have gone to great homes and for now we are keeping "Chester", the chestnut agouti buck, who is in the picture above His personality is just like his fathers, laid back and sweet.

At 16 weeks today, they are molting their coats. The wool is so soft, fine and beautiful!

...and then we have the diva, little "Miss Peaches" the fawn doe. Fresh, full of attitude and a challenge at every turn. Her beautiful fawn wool is gorgeous though.

I plucked her and got some beautiful wool.

Just look at that face, beautiful but a doe with attitude!